Arrival of the Bees


By Debbie

My journey into the world of beekeeping started in May 2021, when we brought the piece of land (now the Orchard) behind the cottage. Walking around the perimeter hedgerows, I thought ‘we should keep bees, like Ted used to’ (Ted was a gentleman who lived in the cottage many years ago and was well known for having bees).

Fast forward to Christmas 2021 and my Christmas present was a bright yellow Beehaus (the new modern Beehive). I knew there was no going back now…

I joined the Cornwall Beekeepers Association and became a member of the Wadebridge local group. I read and read about Bees and became more and more confused. It seemed the only way for me to learn was to get involved practically.

So, in May 2022, armed with my brand new sparkling white bee suit and shiny yellow wellies, I started going to the Apiary meets every Saturday morning in Wadebridge and there I met a great group of people who shared their knowledge and advice. It gave me a chance to check the hives and look for pollen, eggs, larvae and most importantly the ‘Queen’, knowing that I was surrounded by people who knew what they were doing. I even helped spin the honey when it was ready in the August of that year, and slowly my confidence grew.

However, I still procrastinated about getting my own bees and my poor yellow Beehaus sat in the Orchard, alone and unused.

During the months of October to March/April, there is very little that can be done with the bees except you make sure they have enough feed for the Winter and then you leave them alone to keep warm and dry during the Winter months.

In May this year, I started again at the Apiary meetings, and I was determined that this was the year I was going to get my bees and we would have ‘Bumblebee Cottage’ honey. I ordered my nuc (like a starter kit of a Queen, worker bees and drones) and we collected this mid-July of 2023 and brought them home in the back of our hatchback to their yellow palace.

They settled down quickly but unfortunately the weather didn’t and because July and August were so awful, I had to feed the bees with a sugar syrup so that they could build their frames and make enough honey for them to feed on over the Winter period. This meant no honey for us this year but my confidence grew each time I went down to the bottom of the orchard to see them.

The bees went away for Winter (hibernation), with a fondant feed that will need to be replaced in January/February, before they start their work again in the Spring.

I will then start my weekly check on them again and fingers crossed there will be ‘Bumblebee Cottage’ honey in 2024.